Livelihood security and coping with crisis events within a transnational network: Ghanaian migrants in the Netherlands

V. Mazzucato*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study adopts a livelihood security perspective to analyse what factors are important for ensuring the lives of Ghanaian migrants in the Netherlands and how. While a livelihood security framework is usually used to analyse living conditions of households or individuals in developing countries, this article uses the framework for analysing migrants' living conditions by placing emphasis not only on what migrants own but also how they gain access to necessary resources. Secondly, by emphasising vulnerability, the framework draws attention to how migrants cope with crisis situations. Livelihood security is defined as: employment security, housing security and ability to solve a crisis. The article investigates how various personal and network characteristics of migrants relate to these three aspects of life in the receiving country. The study analyses transaction, network and life history data collected from both migrants and the people they are tied to back home. The paper shows that two characteristics are most related to securing a living: 1) the migrant's legal standing in Dutch society; 2) the migrant's positioning within a transnational network of actors. Both these conditions affect the means at a migrant's disposal to realise these objectives. Furthermore, the article argues that increasingly stringent migration policies in the Netherlands, and more generally in the European Union, lead to a retreat of the state as a provider of basic needs and increasingly basic needs of migrants are being provided by social networks that transcend national boundaries. There is a risk that these informal networks become overly strained leading to a decreased ability of migrants to secure a living.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


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